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Ukraine still pushing for more military aid

Mihailo Podoliak, a top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, on Saturday asked Kiev’s allies to “think faster” about stepping up their military support, a day after they failed to agree on sending battle tanks wanted by Ukraine. “You will eventually help Ukraine with the weapons it needs and realize that there is no other option to end the war than by defeating Russia,” Podoliak wrote on Twitter. “But today’s indecision is killing more of our people. Every day of delay means the death of Ukrainians. Think faster,” he urged. Ukraine’s allies agreed on Friday, at the end of a meeting in Ramstein, Germany, on a “significant package” of military aid for the country, but did not reach an agreement to provide it with German Leopard tanks, promising Kiev other types instead of weapons, including infantry fighting vehicles and anti-aircraft systems.

The military aid provided to Ukraine so far includes weapons that range from portable drones to complex, long-range missile systems. Switchblade drones. Small, portable, so-called kamikaze drones that carry warheads and detonate on impact. The smallest model can hit a target up to six miles away, according to the company that produces the drones, AeroVironment. It’s unclear which size model the US will send to Ukraine. Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. These heat-seeking, anti-aircraft missiles have a range of about five miles and 11,000 feet. Critically, Stinger missiles can distinguish between enemy and friendly aircraft. As Russia’s deadly invasion has continued, Zelensky has requested some actions that Western allies fear would put them in direct conflict with the Kremlin and escalate the war. No-fly zone. Zelensky has repeatedly called on Ukraine’s allies to establish a no-fly zone over the country. A no-fly zone is an area where certain aircraft cannot fly for any number of reasons. In the context of a conflict such as the one in Ukraine, it would probably mean a zone in which Russian planes were not allowed to fly, to prevent them from carrying out airstrikes against Ukraine. The problem with military no-fly zones is that they have to be enforced by a military power. If a Russian aircraft flew into a NATO no-fly zone, then NATO forces would have to take action against that aircraft. Those measures could include shooting the plane from the sky. That would, in Russia’s eyes, be an act of war by NATO and would likely escalate the conflict. S-300 missile defense systems. This surface-to-air missile system can strike targets that are both higher in altitude and farther away than Stinger missiles are designed for. Slovakia has preliminarily agreed to provide Ukraine with a key Soviet-era air defense system to help defend against Russian airstrikes, according to three sources familiar with the matter. But the US and NATO are still grappling with how to backfill that country’s own defensive capabilities, and the transfer is not yet assured. MiG fighter jets. Earlier this month, the US dismissed a proposal from Poland to transfer its MiG-29 fighter jets to the United States for delivery to Ukraine. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement that the US did not believe Poland’s proposal was “tenable” and that it was too risky.  “The prospect of fighter jets ‘at the disposal of the Government of the United States of America’ departing from a U.S./NATO base in Germany to fly into airspace that is contested with Russia over Ukraine raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance,” Kirby said.  

By Paul Bumman

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